'Those are the kind of guys that we look up to': Springboks driven by standards set by the Steyns says Kriel
Springbok centre Jesse Kriel has a personal connection to the British & Irish Lions through his great grandfather, and will treasure the upcoming series in South Africa as a ‘once in a career’ opportunity to be apart of.
“My great grandfather played for the Lions, so it’s quite a personal one for me, it’s special to be involved here,” Kriel told the media at a Springboks press conference.
Kriel remembers the last time the Lions were in South Africa while he was still in school and recalls some of the key moments in the second test as vivid memories.
“If you go back to 2009, I was still in school back then and have some great memories of that Jacque Fourie try and the Morne Steyn kicking the penalty goal over.
“It’s great to have a guy like him in the squad.”
Kriel says the squad is still learning from both of the Steyns, who were apart of the 2009 2-1 series victory over the touring Lions. Flyhalf Morné Steyn wrote his name in the history books when he kicked the penalty goal that clinched the series in 2009.
Francois Steyn and Morné Steyn have set the standards for the rest of the Bok squad ahead of the upcoming British and Irish Lions series by leading by example.
“Look at guys like Morne Steyn and Frans Steyn, everyone will say you’d think that the experienced guy will always be talking and always doing this, but I think they are just two guys who just do the basics really well and they don’t make mistakes,” said Kriel.
“Those are the kind of guys that we look up to, that we want to replicate. They are not guys who are always talking, but they set the example.
“They set the example at training and they set the standards.
“They make really good points when it is necessary.
“I think those are the kinds of standards they set and we as players need to follow those standards because it has obviously been effective for them in the past.”
Kriel said that every player in the Lions will be a ‘world-class’ opponent, but that the Springboks know what each of them will bring.
“If you look at the make-up of the British and Irish Lions team, it is the best players from each [participating] country, so every guy in a team like that is going to be world-class if not close to that.
“We know what each of them will bring as individuals and I think we got to match that and go a step up. Our focus is on doing what we can do well to contribute to our system and what makes that system effective,” Kriel added.
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